Difference Between Adverse and Averse

Main Difference – Adverse vs Averse

The two adjectives Adverse and Averse are easy to confuse as they look alike. At first glance, these two words may even seem to be the same since the letter ‘d’ in adverse seems to be the only difference between them. Indeed, these two words are related in origins and connote negative implications. Adverse means harmful, unfavorable, or opposing whereas averse means unwilling, or disinclined. This difference in the meaning can be considered to be the main difference between adverse and averse. Let us look at these adjectives separately and discern the other differences between adverse and averse.

Adverse – Meaning and Usage

The adjective adverse has negative implications; it means hostile, unfavorable, opposing, or harmful. Adverse comes from French advers, which is originated from Latin adversus meaning  ‘against, opposite’. Adverse always refer to something that works against us, preventing success or development. This adjective is mainly used to describe a condition or situation and is rarely applied to humans. Adverse is often used with words like weather, effects, impact, etc. Given below are some sentences that use the adjective adverse.

The match was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

The guest speaker spoke about the adverse effects of the technological development.

She discovered that the proposed project would have major adverse impacts on the environment.

The adverse weather conditions are considered as a major cause of road accidents.

Difference Between Adverse and Averse

The flight was delayed due to adverse weather conditions.

Averse – Meaning and Usage

Averse refers to a strong feeling of opposition or dislike to something. Unlike adverse, this adjective refers to feelings, attitudes of people. Averse is synonymous with strongly disinclined, loath, unwilling, and reluctant. The adjective averse is often used in the predicative position, not the attributive position.

She was averse to dancing.→ She didn’t like dancing/ She disliked dancing.

Averse comes from Latin aversus meaning ‘turned away from’. It is also important to note that this adjective is often followed by the preposition ‘to’. However, in certain cases, such as in the case of the phrase risk averse, the preposition is dropped.

Given below are some examples of the adjective, averse.

He is averse to hunting animals.

The old employees of the company are averse to change.

The bank is more risk-averse than it used to be.

As a former intelligence officer, he is not averse to secrecy.

He was averse to discussing the meeting with us.

I’m not averse to politics, but I’m averse to politicians.

Main Difference - Adverse vs Averse

He is not averse to hard work.

Difference Between Adverse and Averse


Adverse refers to an unfavorable or hostile condition that prevents success or development.

Averse refers to a strong feeling of opposition or dislike to something.


Adverse is often used with conditions and effects.

Averse is often used with people.


Adverse is not followed by any preposition.

Averse is often followed by the preposition to.


Adverse comes from Latin adversus meaning  ‘against, opposite’.

Averse comes from Latin aversus meaning ‘turned away from’

Difference Between Adverse and Averse- infographic

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